Can you feel that? A new sense of excitement and hope for the New Year? We do! We always love this time of year, as it welcomes a fresh new perspective. It can be fun to write out your dreams and craft a daily rhythm around those dreams. Of course, we also know this time of year can be incredibly frustrating and disappointing, too. We often start the year hopeful, creating New Year's resolutions, only to give them up a few weeks into the year. We understand this disappointment. We all want to grow, mature, adopt better habits, and spend more time with God, but it can be hard with all the constant distractions and pressures.
However you've dealt with New Year's resolutions in the past, we invite you to keep an open heart in 2022. There is always room for growth and improvement. Who knows, this could be the year you smash your goals! Keep in mind that these disciplines are meant to be enjoyable. If these begin to feel like a chore, the chances of you keeping them are slim. Ask yourself if these spiritual goals are right for you and work with your schedule. If not, feel free to create your own!
We've got 8 spiritual goals worth introducing to your schedule (and keeping!) this new year.
1. Rise Early
"I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words." ~ Psalm 119:147
Yep, you guessed it. One of the most important disciplines we've experienced is getting up early and spending time in the Word. It sounds cliché, but there truly is something special about getting up early and carving out time for God first thing in the morning. Not only does it help put you in a correct mindset right away, but you're starting your day off reminded of truth and light, which is necessary in our world. That instant connection with God can't be overestimated. If you're in need of some inspiration, look to Scripture and you'll find many passages about getting up early. An obvious example is Jesus Himself. He'd often withdraw and spend time alone in prayer, communing with God.
2. Pray Often
"The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:5-7
Of course, it's helpful to have scheduled prayer times in your day, like first thing in the morning or before a meal. We've also found it to be helpful to pray throughout the day, too. Prayer is such a powerful tool and connecting point between us and God. We're meant to have a constant relationship with Him, not just on Sunday mornings or when it's convenient for us. So the next time you hear about a friend in need or have your own trials that pop up during the day, turn to Jesus right away. Take a moment to connect with Him and ask Him to carry those heavy burdens. You may not receive an answer right away, or the one you want, but your relationship with Him will be strengthened, and you'll be surprised at how much better you'll feel.
3. Practice Silence & Solitude
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Similar to the point above, the purpose of a prayer walk is to carve time out of your day to step outside, move your body, reorient your thoughts, and spend some time alone. These days, so many of us are glued to our laptop screens from 9-5, or even have a busy in-person job that can create anxiety or burnout. We've always found inspiration in nature, as God has left His mark on our world. Whenever we go on a prayer walk, and focus on silence and solitude, it's all about noticing the little things. A songbird, the warm sunshine, a blossoming tree, the smile of a stranger you pass by.
4. Discover Fellowship & Community
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit." ~ 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
As Christians, we're not meant to live life alone. In fact, this is something Paul reminds us of constantly in the Epistles. To be a Christian is to be a part of the body of Christ—the church. We were designed by God to live in community, to share each other's burdens and blessings. If you're already going to church or a Bible study, that's a great start! Get connected with other believers and share what God is teaching you. We know how hard the past couple years have been for all of us. There have been so many isolating times, but we encourage you to find community—however that looks like for you. Could be a women's bible study, a small group, a prayer group, etc.
5. Memorize Scripture
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." ~ Colossians 3:15
We already know that being in the Word every day is a MUST, but when was the last time you challenged yourself to memorize Scripture? When we store up God's Word in our hearts, we're equipped with His wisdom. We remind ourselves of how powerful God is. There is power and truth in Scripture, and that's worth taking some time to memorize. We suggest memorizing a verse a week, or if that's too much, consider memorizing one for the month. Write up the verse on sticky notes and put them on your mirror, your steering wheel, or even change your phone wallpaper—wherever you periodically look throughout the day.
6. Observe the Sabbath
"Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God." ~ Deuteronomy 5:12
This one is so hard to keep in today's fast-paced environment, but it's so essential. When we establish a Sabbath in our weekly routine and designate it as a day of rest, we're actively worshipping God, and resisting the ways of the world. We must have these set days of rest in order to refresh and commune with God. Our modern cultural moment of hustle culture can be productive, sure, but it will eventually lead to burnout. Above all, have 2022 be the year you nourish your soul.
7. Give Back
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6-6
There's no better time to get plugged in and give back to your community. This season, we invite you to pick an organization or ministry worth pouring into. Make connections, share your heart, and spread encouragement. Not only will you be a source of joy to others, but you'll feel better, too. If you don't have anything else to give but time, then wonderful! Dedicate your time to serving those in your neighborhood—that's a precious gift.
8. Practice Hospitality
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." ~ 1 Peter 4:8-9
Hospitality can mean many things. It can be opening up your home or apartment for a weekly Bible study. It can be cooking and delivering meals to a new family in town, or for someone you know is sick. It can be writing hand-written cards to loved ones, inviting your neighbors over for dinner, or even hosting a block party. There are no rules here! Feel free to get creative and open up your home to your loved ones—and strangers, too! These days so many of us are isolated in our homes. We live in buildings where we don't even know who our next-door neighbors are! Make a point to invite your neighbors over and remind them how loved they are.
A Worthwhile Reminder
This should be an exciting time! Don't let the pressure of these commitments stress you out. Get a group of friends together and share these resolutions. Establish weekly or monthly check-ins to keep track of your progress. One of our favorite ways to remember our promises (and God's promises to us) is to literally wear them! Check out our Christian apparel, with collections featuring some of your favorite verses.